Comfort Food That’s Good For You!
By Heidi Ochsner, MS RD
After the holiday season my digestive tract is ready for a break and my liver needs some love. Unfortunately, it’s cold and wet outside so I really don’t feel like raw salad and a piece of fruit. What’s a health lover to do? Make a big crock pot full of Kitchari. It’s the traditional ayurvedic detox meal that sooths the liver and lights your digestive flame!
Ayurveda is a Hindu system of traditional medicine that believes the digestive tract is central to all healing and I couldn’t agree more. Kitchari, which means mixture, is a blend of mung beans and rice. This easily digestible porridge provides restorative nourishment allowing the body to heal and build vitality. The dal and rice are blended with anti-inflammatory spices that increase the digestive fire and often has seasonal vegetables added as well. Traditionally, kitchari is used for detoxification and to balance all three doshas: vata, kapha, and pitta. There are countless versions of this Indian comfort food so you can use this recipe as-is or change it to fit your own personal style.
1 cup mung dal (split mung beans)
¾ cup basmati rice
3 Tbs ghee (or pastured butter)
3 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp clove powder
2 Tbs ginger, peeled and chopped
3 Tbs shredded coconut
6 cups filtered water
2-3 inch piece of kombu
2 cups seasonal vegetables (i.e. squash, sweet potato, carrot, zuchinni, cauliflower, burdock root etc…)
sea salt to taste
Handful fresh cilantro leaves
- Rinse mung beans and rice then cover with water and soak for several hours. (If you do not have time to soak you can just cook them longer)
- In a large pot add ghee and sauté seeds until they pop and then add the other spices, chopped ginger and shredded coconut and sauté another 2 minutes.
- Drain the water from the beans and rice and add them to the ghee and spice mixture. Mix them together coating well.
- Add the 6 cups fresh water and the piece of kombu. Bring to a boil then turn down to low heat cover and cook until soft, about 20-30 minutes.
- Cut seasonal vegetables into small cubes and add to the pot cooking for another 10 minutes or until soft. Do not stir too much or you will get a mush.
- Salt to taste and garnish with cilantro
Recipe by Heidi Ochsner MS, RD 2012